As business owners, we enter into agreements and purchase orders on a regular basis as part of operating business. Every day, people enter into business agreements on a regular basis; and yet, they do not understand fully the rights and obligations conferred in these agreements. For an agreement to be an enforceable contract, it must contain some vital elements. Without these elements, the contract may not be enforceable in whole or in part.

At The Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham, our Houston Commercial Litigation Attorneys and our Houston Breach of Contract Lawyers assist our clients in review and interpreting contracts in preparation for litigation on a regular basis, with over 50 years of combined business experience as well as over 10 years of combined business litigation and commercial dispute experience, our Houston Breach of Contract Attorneys and the West Houston Contract Litigation Lawyers are in a great position to assist you in complicated commercial litigation suits arise out of breach of contacts disputes. Should you feel that there has been a breach in a business or employment contract, or whether you are anticipating that there will be a breach, please contact the Houston Commercial Litigation Attorneys and the Houston Breach of Contract Lawyers at The Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham to set up a personal consultation. After consulting with our experienced Texas Business Litigation Lawyers and our Southwest Houston Breach of Contract Attorneys, you will have a better understanding with respect to your rights and obligations in preparation for potential litigation.

How Do I Know If I Have A Contract?

A contract can be formed in writing or in oral. A contract must have an offer and an acceptance by the other party. The contract must alsp have considerations, a quit pro quo, in which one party is giving up something to receive something else of value (i.e. money in exchange or goods and services, goods in exchange for services, services in exchange for services, etc.).

Contracts can be oral if it does not violate the statute of fraud (also see below). Further, contracts that are oral, can also be later on be reaffirmed with an email, a letter, or by delivering the goods and services as agreed, and the other party accepts such goods and services. A contract may also be formed based on the parties’ action and past history. Some of these types of contracts are the purchase and order of goods or services. A merchant may call the supplier and order 100 widgets b y way of leaving a message on the supplier’s answering machine. Without even returning the call, the supplier promptly sent over 100 widgets at X-price. If the merchant accepts the delivery, there is a contract. An example of this type of agreements can be seen every day in the service industry when the landscaper maintains a homeowner’s home. Most people do not have a written agreement, or even an oral contract, with their landscaper; and yet, the landscapers come every week and work on the property. By agreeing to allow the landscaper to work on the property, especially looking at the parties’ history, course of action, and industry standard, the court will most likely determines that a contract exists. If you are unsure whether there is a contract, or whether your contract is enforceable, continue to read below and contact the Houston Contract Attorneys and the Houston Breach of Contract Lawyers at The Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham

What Is An Enforceable Contract?

In its simplest form, an enforceable is a contract that has an offer and an acceptance. If the original terms of a contract are not accepted, the contract is said to be rejected. If new terms are offered, a “counteroffer” has been made and it is up to the party to accept or reject the counteroffer for a contract to be made. In addition, to be enforceable, the contract must also have consideration. That is, the parties must each give up something in order to get something. The agreement becomes an enforceable contract when the parties both agreed on the terms and conditions, which include the considerations.

In addition to the above, a contract may not be enforceable if the terms of such contract are so vague or ambiguous that the court could not determine the reasonable interpretation of one party against the equally reasonable understanding of the other party. Sometimes, the court will construe the meaning of contract against the drafter, especially in boiler-plate contracts in which the adverse party often times would not be able to obtain the services without agreeing to all the terms and conditions of such contract. Finally, a contract may not be enforceable if it falls within the Statute of Fraud or if such contract is a violation of certain statutes. Please see below for more detail. You should contact a Houston Contract Attorney prior to signing any contract, even if you think that you understand the terms and conditions of such contract. Our West Houston Contract Lawyers can review your contracts and agreements and consult you on your rights and obligations, and whether such contract is enforceable.

There are other reasons why a contract may not be enforceable, such as an illegal contract. For instance, if one party is a minor, the contract is voidable. A minor, or someone that does not have the mental capacity, is not enforceable even if the parties agreed to the terms, conditions, and the agreement is signed. Another example of an unenforceable contract or a partially enforceable contract is an employment agreement that contains a non-compete clause. In Texas, non-compete agreement is only enforceable if it is limited in time, in scope, and is not so restricted that it impedes the employee’s ability to work in his or her trade. If the portion of the contract is found unenforceable, but that the rest of the agreement is enforceable, the unenforceable portion of the contract will be revised by the court to comport with established law or omitted altogether. The Houston Contract Lawyers and the Southwest Houston Contract Attorneys at The Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham will often insert a “savings clause" to protect the integrity of your contract.  A savings clause preserves the rest of the contract when one section is found unenforceable; however, the court can also independently make the decision to exclude portions of the contract and enforce the rest.

Finally, an enforceable contract must also be in compliance with the “Statute of Fraud.” The statute of frauds prevent fraudulent and frivolous claims of breach of contract. Unfortunately, unless a person consults an attorney, he or she may not know that the oral contract is in violation of the statutes of fraud. So, what are the requirements under the statutes of fraud? The statutes of fraud require that certain of contracts must be in writing. These include contracts related to real estate, contracts in which it could take longer than 1 year to complete, contracts that are related to a marriage (premarital agreements and post marital contracts), contract for goods that are over $5,000, contract by an executor of a will to pay a debt, and contracts that act as surety (guarantors) for debts. A person who uses the statute of frauds as a defense of a contract has a burden of proof. An admission of the existence of a contract may not use it as a defense. Further, if a party acts in conformity to the alleged contract, then the party cannot bring a defense that no contract existed or that the contract violates the statute of fraud.

If you believe that you have entered into an contract and the other party may have breached the contract, please feel free to contact the Houston Contract Attorneys or a Southwest Houston Commercial Litigation Lawyers at The Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham Our experienced Houston Contract Attorneys and our Breach of Contract Attorneys can review your contracts, answering your questions and concerns, and offer our legal opinion regarding contract, the alleged breach, and suggest a course of action to resolve your legal issues. While contracts may appear either black or white, in reality most contracts contain various shades of gray that are left to interpretation by the parties and perhaps ultimately by a court. If you have questions about what the contract means, do not enter into the agreement before you have consulted a competent West Houston Contract Litigation Attorney or a Houston Contract Dispute Lawyer at The Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham


Each commercial litigation suit is unique depending on the fact and the contract, if any, in which you agreed and signed with the opposing party. The requirements and the level of proof may vary from one type of action to another. You should NOT rely on the information on of this web site in replacing a personal consultation with an experienced Houston Contract Litigation Lawyers and the West Houston Contract Litigation Attorneys at The Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham There may be legal issues in which you may not be aware. Please feel free to contact our Houston Commercial Litigation Attorneys and our Houston Business Litigation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham today at 713-517-6645 or complete our Contact Form.

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